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Rekindling the Creativity of Children

ย Let me tell you a story: Art workshop series on story-telling and illustration for children in Bhutan.

By Tandin Wangchuk

 On September 11, the Embassy of Switzerland to India and Bhutan, together with the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia, launched a series of art workshops for Bhutanese children aged 8 to 12 years.

The workshops encourage the children to imagine and write their own stories on peace, harmony, diversity, and sustainability.

As part of this series, they will also be trained in a special virtual illustration workshop conducted by well-known Swiss illustrator Francesca Sanna. Francesca will then lead a workshop for Bhutanese illustrators.

A statement from the Swiss Embassy in New Delhi said these workshops are facilitated by ThinkArts India and VAST Bhutan.

โ€œIn times when COVID-19 has led to travel-restrictions and work-from-home mandates, the Embassy of Switzerland to India and Bhutan and the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia have come up with a unique way of connecting to people and addressing the youngest among us,โ€ it said.

In addition a series of art workshops, for children between the age of 8 and 12 years from three schools in Thimphu, were given prompts and guidance to write their own story on the universal values of peace, unity, diversity and sustainability.

In the fourth and last workshop, conducted yesterday, the children attended an illustration workshop with Swiss illustrator Francesca Sanna. Ms. Sanna is also scheduled to do a special workshop and interaction called โ€œStories connect peopleโ€ with illustrators from Bhutan on October 06 later this week.

In this workshop she will concentrate on the process of illustrating childrenโ€™s stories, joining virtually all the way from Switzerland.

Ms. Sanna is an illustrator and picture book author from Sardinia, currently living and drawing in Switzerland. She graduated in Architecture from the University of Cagliari, before she decided to move to Germany first and then Switzerland where she studied design and illustration in Basel and Lucerne.

She holds a Master in Design with specialisation in Illustration from the University of Applied Arts of Lucerne, and has briefly studied in New York, attending a summer residency at the School of Visual Arts.

After she graduated, she spent several months in London as research fellow for The Reluctant Internationalists Group at Birbeck, University of London, working on one of her books, Me and My Fear.

Her books have been translated into more than 15 languages and her work has been recognised by the Society of Illustrators, American Illustration, 3ร—3 magazine, Communication Art, Kirkus Reviews and Publisher Weekly.

Swiss Ambassador Dr. Ralf Heckner said: โ€œIn these unprecedented times, where it has been impossible for many of us to travel or be together, the arts continue to offer inspiring, innovative and different ways to keep people across the globe connected.โ€

He further added that we feel it is important to keep engaging in people-to-people and cultural exchanges and offer a platform to artists to share their work with you, the audience.

Let me tell you a storyโ€ will culminate in December this year with a special activity for children. The program is part of the Swiss networkโ€™s โ€œSwiss it!โ€ initiative.

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